Shore Smoke Seasonings & Team S&W gets a GOLDEN TICKET!
This past weekend Nicole and I took a trip down to our home away from home in Eastern North Carolina for a fun-filled few days. We headed down Wednesday morning for a few days of business meetings and a little strolling around the area before we made our way to the town of Ayden North Carolina.
What was waiting for us in the town of Ayden you ask? One of our favorite retailers Coltrain Hardware has its grand opening for their new hardware store. Owned by Sarah and Shane Coltrain, this store is an absolute gem with so much to offer more than just your regular hardware store. Sarah had asked us to be a part of the grand opening celebration for their store Friday night and Nicole and I jumped at such an amazing opportunity. We brought the Blackstone flattop and set up shop right in front of the store and started breaking out the burgers and our famous award-winning Between the Bun seasoning. The crowd was out in full force to support these wonderful people and the beginning of their new business venture and Shore Smoke was honored to dish out almost 75 burgers in under an hour to all the guests. What an amazing experience to see a community come out to show support the way they did and make this a small business success. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the grand opening and to everyone who gave us such rave reviews on our burgers.
After a late night, Nicole and I headed back to the hotel and got a small bit of rest before our big day at Riley’s Southern Goods and Gardens for their SCA (Steak Cookoff Association) event. One thing I will say about Riley’s is they ALWAYS put on top-notch events that exceed everyone’s expectations and they do it with the utmost class. Nicole and I made it there around 7 am to set up and the weather was not on our side this day, especially early in the morning. Joining us a few minutes later by the other half of Team S&W was David Watkins and we began setting up our cook site. We quickly realized that we were not as prepared for the elements as we had thought. (My fault for that) This is where having amazing friends comes into play as Team J-3 became our neighbors and rescued us from the elements and allowed us to share their cook site with them. We can’t thank them enough for what they did for us that day from giving us shelter, tips, and advice on how to be competitive against such a stacked field.
Thank you Thank you Thank you, team J-3 for all your support and guidance.
Nicole spent her day mostly assisting Riley’s crew in helping with the event and lending a hand where she could. Braving the elements, she was an absolute rockstar and from handling turn-ins, running steaks for people to sample, and helping put out tables and chairs. David and I began to prep for the competitions and up first were the wings. We made a last-minute adjustment and decided to go with crabby wings using our Ocean Pursuit seasoning over our original idea, and they turned out amazing. Next up were Steak A and B so we began the trimming process as well as marinating. Again, David and I decided to try something new with our steaks and it turned out to be a great addition. Last up we prepared for our pickle entry and did a stuffed pickle with cream cheese, game day seasoning, onions, and shredded cheese that was then wrapped in bacon and brushed with a secret Kountry Boyz sweet heat sauce.
After all turn-ins, we began to pack down and get ready for awards. This only being my fourth SCA competition, David, and I’s second one ever done teaming up we were hopeful but when we looked at the stacked field, we knew we had better have brought our A game. With Nicole doing our presentation we knew it looked good and with David and I cooking we felt we had a strong chance, but it was in the judge’s hands at this point. They began with the kid’s comp which is always a crowd pleaser seeing all the kids go up and accept their awards. Next up was a chicken wing and they began to make the countdown for the top 10. As they passed into the top 5, I looked at Nicole and David and said were out because I knew the stacked field and didn’t think we were in the same ballpark with those cook who had yet to be called up. As they reached the 1st place winner and a trip to Forth Worth Texas for the world championships was on the line, I heard Ryan Riley start calling the winning number and much to my shock he had called my number, and I was met with a sea of people jumping on me and hugging me. To say that was an out-of-body experience is an understatement, because as I’m writing this I am still in shock. The look in my wife’s eyes as I made my way back to her after accepting all of our prizes and the hug from her that followed made it all worth it.
After a few moments and not realizing they had begun to call the pickle winners I looked at my ticket and just happened to hear Riley call my number again for a 9th place finish in that competition. TWO walks were something I never thought I would experience again but for anyone who competes, I’m willing to bet if you have heard your name called twice or ten thousand that it still gives you the same amazing feeling.
After that, we moved on to the steak categories which we did not get a call in either steak, but finished 15th in Steak A and 22nd in Steak B. Nothing could wipe the smile off our faces after winning that golden ticket. After saying our goodbyes to everyone, Nicole, David and his lovely wife Sarah all headed out to dinner to celebrate. Sushi and drinks never tasted so good as they did that night that’s for sure.
Thank you to everyone who made this trip down for us a memorable one, and thank you to the Coltrain’s, Ryan Riley and his crew for hosting us and allowing us to be part of two wonderful events. We look forward to traveling all over this year with our newly launched Tailgate Tasting Tour, so be on the lookout for Shore Smoke close to you.